I’m not sure how this one slipped past me. Usually I’m on top of things like this, but my geekiness must be faltering. The BBC has just finished broadcasting a third season of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The new series, broadcast some 25 years after the first two, is based on Douglas Adam’s later books in the “trilogy” plus some script sketches he wrote before his death. Many of the same actors were available for the new version, including Simon Jones, Geoffery McGiven, Stephen Moore, Mark Wing-Davies, and Susan Sheridan. The new series is produced by Dirk Maggs.
The BBC has been kind enough to make the series available online for those of us here in the US, but there’s a catch. They only post the latest episode, and it’s only available for a week after its broadcast. Since the series ended October 28, the only one available is the concluding episode. Add to that the fact that they only stream in RealPlayer, one would think that they want to limit access so that they can sell CDs. I guess I’ll have to shell out a few pounds and pence, Euros, or whatever the heck they use now, or wait until it’s broadcast in the US.
I did listen to a snippet of the show, but since it’s the last episode I didn’t want to spoil anything. However, having read all the books, I’ve got a pretty good idea how it turns out. However, Douglas Adams was not known for his continuity. The original series is very different from the released recordings, which is slightly different from the the books, which is slightly different from the TV version. In my mind, the original radio version and the books are the best. The show really does not translate to a visual medium very well because it relies so much on verbal gags based on things you cannot see, such as Zaphod’s two heads and three hands. Adams was working on a movie version before his death, and I believe that is still being pursued. I would definitely see it, but I’m not sure what to expect. Of the snippet I heard, there were some differences. The late Peter Jones is sorely missed as “The Book”. In his place is William Franklyn , who is more of a narrator than the book persona. I’m sure there will be many other differences due to time and the death of the original writer, but will be enjoyable all the same.
Should you really want to listen to the series right away, and your ethics are sub par, you can download the entire series in Bit Torrent format (another thing I’ve just discovered) from UKNova, not that I approve of that sort of thing.
Speaking of new series…
A new version of Doctor Who is in the works. One of the main writiers is Steven Moffat, of Coupling fame. The new Doctor, now in his ninth incarnation, is played by Christopher Eccleston as a more updated version for today’s audiences. Of course, the quentissential Who was Tom Baker. Several of those episodes were written by Douglas Adams, thus neatly bring this entry full circle.